The President and Chief Executive Officer for the American Gaming Association (AGA), Frank Fahrenkopf, has revealed that the need for new tax dollars as the economy worsens could force the legalisation of online gambling in the United States.
According to a piece in the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper, Fahrenkopf stated that the legalisation of Internet gambling would be the hottest Federal issue facing Nevada's gaming industry over the next few years.
'There have been projections circulated on the Hill that it can raise billions of dollars in new Federal revenue,' said Fahrenkopf.
'So we can expect that the whole issue of Internet gambling will be front and centre in the next Congress.'
Fahrenkopf stated that Federal lawmakers see that potential tax revenues from online gaming could fuel their legislative agenda.
'Congress has adopted a pay-as-you-go system,' said Fahrenkopf.
'So any Congressman or Senator who introduces a piece of legislation that is going to cost something will also have to show how they are going to pay for it, either by cutting spending in one place or raising taxes in another. So we know under those circumstances they will be looking around at a place to get additional revenues.'
Fahrenkopf’s comments came as the Bush Administration with only 68 days left in power pushed through the rules finalising the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. It is expected that the President will sign the new regulations into law on January 19, the day before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th President, with companies obliged to comply by the end of next year.
However, a little-known piece of Clinton-era legislation, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of 1996, could be used to overturn anything ratified by the White House after November 1.